Dukes Open A-10 Championship Play at UMass Tuesday Night
March 4, 2012
2012 ATLANTIC 10 CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST ROUND
Ninth-seeded Duquesne (16-14) heads to Amherst, Mass. to face No. 8 Massachusetts (20-10) in the first round of the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship on Tuesday, Mar. 6 at 7:00 p.m. The Dukes, who were picked to finish ninth in the A-10 in a preseason poll of league coaches and media, are making their sixth consecutive championship appearance under head coach Ron Everhart. Duquesne is 3-5 in A-10 Championship play under Everhart, including a run to the title game in 2009. UMass is DU's most-frequent Atlantic 10 Championship opponent. The two have met nine times with Duquesne holding a 5-4 advantage. The last time the two met in post-season play, the seventh-seeded Dukes defeated the tenth-seeded Minutemen 91-81 in the first round at Atlantic City in 2009. The win ignited DU's title game run.
The winner of the DU/UM game will face No. 1 seed Temple (24-6) a Noon on Fri., Mar. 9 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. (CBS Sports Network syndication).
The Dukes face the formidable task of doing what only one team has done this season - defeat UMass at Mullins Center. The Minutemen are 14-1 at home, with the lone blemish being a 72-71 loss to La Salle on Feb. 18. Duquesne has handed UMass two of its 12 largest margins of defeat in the history of the Mullins Center its last two visits to Amherst: 94-77 (+17) on Feb. 25, 2009 and 81-63 (+18) on Feb. 16, 2011. It is the first time since 1984 & 1985 that DU has won two in a row at Massachusetts. The Dukes have never won three straight on the road against the Minutemen. Facing a team with an outstanding home record in post-season play isn't totally foreign to the Dukes who traveled to Missoula, Montana last year to face a Montana team that was 21-10, including 13-1 at home in the first round of the CBI. DU prevailed in that game, 87-76.
This is the fourth consecutive season the Dukes have posted 15 or more wins ... it is the longest streak since 1968-73 (15+ wins in six straight seasons).
Duquesne clinched its fifth consecutive non-losing season with its 88-77 win at Charlotte on Feb. 29 ... DU has now posted five consecutive non-losing seasons since ending a streak of 13 consecutive sub-.500 seasons with a 17-13 record in 2007-08 - head coach Ron Everhart's second year on the Bluff. The last time DU had five consecutive non-losing seasons was 1968-75 (eight seasons).
According to Basketball State, Duquesne has faced the fourth-toughest schedule among the Atlantic 10's 14 schools (through Saturday): Temple (39th), Xavier (41st), Saint Joseph's (42nd), DUQUESNE (57th), George Washington (59th), Dayton (63rd), Richmond (88th), Saint Louis (94th), Rhode Island (103rd), La Salle (123rd), UMass (124th), St. Bonaventure (130th), Charlotte (138th) and Fordham (139th).
DU head coach Ron Everhart (99-88) needs one win to join Chick Davies (314-106), Red Manning (247-138) & Dudey Moore (191-70) in the Duquesne 100-win club.
The Dukes, who led the nation is assists (17.8), steals (9.9) and turnover margin (+6.7) last year are averaging 15.2 assists and 7.9 steals ... DU began the week ranked third in NCAA Division I in turnover margin (+5.3) behind Syracuse and VCU.
Duquesne is 4-8 on the road, including a 3-5 mark in A-10 play ... DU snapped George Mason's 18-game home win streak with a 75-64 victory at the Patriot Center on Dec. 21 ... it was GMU's first double-digit home loss since February of 2007 ... DU also posted its first win at Rhode Island since 2004 (78-71 on Jan. 14) ... the Dukes' 83-73 win at Dayton on Feb. 1 marked the school's largest margin of victory ever on the road against the Flyers ... DU added another double-digit win at Charlotte (88-77).
Ron Everhart inherited a Duquesne program that had won a total of 17 road games in the 10 seasons prior to his arrival. In his six seasons, Everhart's Dukes have posted 33 road wins. Of the 33 wins, 25 have been by double digits. From 1996-97 through 2005-06 Duquesne posted a total of three double-digit road victories.
LEAGUE FINISH: Duquesne finished the regular season tied with Richmond for 9th in the Atlantic 10 with a 7-9 record. The Dukes secured the No. 9 seed by virtue of their 81-72 regular season win over UR at the Palumbo Center on Feb. 4. DU went 4-4 at home and 3-5 on the road in conference play.
THE SEED: This is the third time Duquesne has entered the Championship as a No. 9 seed. In 1990, the No. 9 Dukes, behind 44 points from senior Mark Stevenson, defeated No. 8 Saint Joseph's 96-70 at Philadelphia's Palestra. DU then dropped a 61-50 decision to top-seeded Temple in the second round. In 2010, the ninth-seeded Dukes dropped an 83-71 first round decision at No. 8 St. Bonaventure.
AT CAMPUS SITES: Atlantic 10 Championship first round games have been played at campus sites 10 times (2011, 2010, 2003, 1987, 1986, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980 & 1979). The last time Duquesne played a first round Championship game at a campus site was in 2010 at St. Bonaventure (83-71 loss). Duquesne has never played at UMass in an A-10 Championship first round game. UMass is DU's most-frequent A-10 Championship foe. The two have met nine times with Duquesne leading 5-4. The last time the two met in post-season play, the seventh-seeded Dukes defeated the tenth-seeded Minutemen 91-81 in the first round at Atlantic City in 2009.
THE SERIES: Massachusetts leads the overall series 34-25 including a 17-7 advantage in games at Amherst (plus 1-0 at Springfield) ... the Dukes have won four of the past five with the lone loss coming in overtime at Pittsburgh, 84-80, on Feb. 11, 2010 - a game in which UMass rallied from a 50-34 deficit with 17:16 left ... in 2009, DU snapped an 11-game Minutemen home win streak over the Dukes with a 94-77 win ... it was DU's first win at Amherst since Jan. 14, 1989 ... DU followed that with a 91-81 win in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship to post back-to-back victories over the Minutemen for the first time since 2004 ... last year the Dukes took an 81-63 decision at Amherst giving them back-to-back wins at Mullins Center ... the regular-season series had been one of home court advantage until recently (UMass leads 17-7 at home and DU holds a 14-12 edge at Pittsburgh) ... Massachusetts has won three of the past four in Pittsburgh, while Duquesne has won two in a row at Amherst ... DU's current streak at UMass is the schools longest since 1984 & 1985 ... Danny Nee's Dukes snapped a 16-game series losing streak (dating back to 1991) with a 78-69 win over the Minutemen on February 6, 2002 at the Palumbo Center ... since then, UMass has won six and Duquesne has won six.
EVERHART VS. UMASS: DU head coach Ron Everhart is 5-3 all-time vs. Massachusetts (4-3 at Duquesne) with an 84-68 win at UMass on Dec. 1, 2004 while at Northeastern, a 101-87 loss at Amherst in 2007, a 94-80 defeat at the Palumbo Center in 2008, a 94-77 win at Amherst & a 91-81 win over the Minutemen in the first round of the 2009 Atlantic 10 Championship in 2009, an 84-80 overtime loss at Palumbo Center in 2010, an 81-63 win at UMass last year and an 80-69 win over the Minutemen at Pittsburgh this year.
TWO BIG WINS AT MULLINS: Duquesne has handed UMass two of its 12 largest margins of defeat in the history of the Mullins Center its last two vists to Amherst: 94-77 (+17) on Feb. 25, 2009 and 81-63 (+18) on Feb. 16, 2011 ... it is the first time since 1984 & 1985 that DU has won two in a row at Massachusetts ... the Dukes have never won three straight on the road against the Minutemen ... the 18-point margin of victory last year tied the fourth-largest in a conference road game DU history, it also tied UMass' ninth-largest margin of defeat (at the time) at Mullins Center ... Ron Everhart's Dukes set Mullins Center opponent records for 3-pointers made and attempted (12-of-31) in a 101-87 loss on Jan. 21, 2007 ... DU also set a Mullins Center opponent record with its 17 steals in 2011.
MINUTEMEN THIS YEAR: UMass, picked to finish 12th in the A-10 in a preseason poll of league coaches and media, made a strong case for "most improved" team in the Atlantic 10 ... the Minutemen (20-10, 9-7), who went 11-3 in non-conference play with wins over Boston College, Utah and Siena, are 14-1 at home ... the Minutemen have been bolstered by the arrival of first-year Hofstra transfer sophomore Chaz Williams (16.2 ppg, 6.4 apg.), who has arguably made the biggest impact on any A-10 team in 2011-12 ... the 5-9 Brooklyn native, who is shooting over 40 percent from the 3-point arc ranks among the nation's top 25 in steals per game (2.3) ... the Minutemen finished the regular season with a 89-83 win over Rhode Island on Saturday ... Williams had 19 points, 9 assists and 5 steals and center Sean Carter scored a career-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks ... sophomore Jesse Morgan added a career-high 25 points ... Morgan went 9-of-9 from the field, including 6-of-6 from 3-point as the Minutemen drilled 14 3-pointers (14-of-30).
SAINT LOUIS LEFTOVERS: Notes from Duquesne's 75-60 Senior Day loss to Saint Louis on Saturday at Palumbo Center ... SLU never trailed in sweeping the season series with DU ... senior B.J. Monteiro scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half and fellow senior Eric Evans added 11 points to lead the Dukes ... Evans tied his season high with three 3-pointers (3-of-4) ... Dwayne Evans led five Billikens in double figures with 20 points and 14 rebounds (7 offensive) ... SLU, which outrebounded DU 35-21 outscored the Dukes 40-26 in the paint and 19-5 in second chance points ... Duquesne finished with just 8 assists on 22 field goals ... DU also turned it over 14 tiems ... the Dukes forced 15 Saint Louis turnovers ... SLU went 8-of-18 from the 3-point arc, DU was 6-of-14.